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A new place for cross-cultural involvement and interaction

By Vasilka Atanasov
On September 14, 2010

Cultural diversity is a concept that many of us fail to understand because of a lack of exposure. The Northeastern Illinois University community is fortunate because NEIU is ranked number one, in the Midwest, for ethnic diversity among its students. Here, more than anywhere else, students are in touch with different cultures from around the world on a daily basis. However, there are still many students who don't realize how important the impact is of understanding different cultures. 

To further enhance this understanding, NEIU students and staff initiated the creation of the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs (Pedroso Center). Yasmin A. Ranney, Director of Asian and Global Resource Center, was very excited about the building and said, "This was the students' initiative to make all this happen, particularly the Latino students desire, to create a resource center for all students where they can come, hang out and learn about the different cultures."

There will be a space for a cultural library, an open meeting space, a study/meeting room with computers, a kitchenette and lounge area for receptions and a conference room. The Pedroso Center will be located in B building. Students can come watch a movie, find information for their research papers and find out about upcoming events.

This location will house the offices of the Associate Vice President and Dean for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs and their staff. The Directors for the Latino, African-American and Asian/Global Resource Centers will be located there as well. The new Pedroso Centers outreach and programming will be strengthened by the formal partnership with the Office of Student Activities, Academic Advising, the new Transfer Center and faculty. The Student Activities Office will be a primary affiliate for the Pedroso Center. 

The Pedroso Center will serve as an umbrella organization for many cultural programs, such as the heritage conferences and diversity programs, that are now run by Academic Development. Academic programs, such as Latino and Latin American studies, African and African American Studies, Global Studies and more will be associated with the Pedroso Center. 

The Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs will be bringing small groups and organizing conferences to link the associated programs, to engage in research and involve the community of NEIU. Creating this center will also increase the possibilities for scholarships and internships for NEIU students. Ranney said, "This would be a place for developing students' leadership skills in areas of diversity and cross-cultural understanding."

One of the first events NEIU will host this semester is Celebrating the Bicentennial of Latin American Struggles for Independence and Accomplishments on Thursday, Sep. 16. For more information on the event and for upcoming events contact the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs at 773-442-5441. All events are free for students and the public.

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